My Grandpa Archibald was a Ford mechanic since around the age of 18. I have several photos of him with various cars (around 1920). He was a car guy, no doubt. More specifically, Grandpa was a Ford guy. Funny how the Ford Vs. Chevy thing was passed down through generations. I ashamed to admit that I drive a Chevy these days. The times and circumstances depict what we drive, right?
I have early childhood memories of Grandpa’s shop. A very large building close to the road, but perfectly placed on his multi-acre farm. Honestly, it was a creepy, dark, and scary place. Dimmly lit and blanketed with the smell of oil. I remember cobwebs in every window. There was also a large chain hanging in the middle that was used to hoist engines out of vehicles. There were also buckets of oil sitting around. I’m certain I’ve heard that this was the first auto repair shop in Eugene, Oregon, appropriately named “The Eugene Garage.” I also know that my grandparents lived in the shop while their house was being built. I’m sure the shop was warm and cozy then.
For those familiar with Eugene, Grandpa’s farm was located on Fisher Road just off of West 11th a few miles West of town. I believe it’s still farm country, but I know that Grandpa’s farm, house, barn, and shop are just memories living in various places throughout my house. Needless to say, I’m a very sentimental photographer who’s walls are full of vintage family photos.
So, how did this photo come about? I was recently watching a photography training video produced by a popular photographer named Joel Grimes. He was sitting at a desk, and behind him on the wall was a framed photo very similar to mine. Or my photo is very similar to his. Most photographers (like comics) steal….I mean “get inspired by” other artists. This shot of Grandpa’s tools was inspired by another professional photographer. I remember seeing the photo, but honestly, I purposely did NOT go back and look at it again. The idea was all I needed and it was important that my art was simply inspired by his, not copied.
I’m so fortunate that my family has always been good about handing down heirlooms and photos. I’ve had these pliers for quite some time and they are part of my shop.
The background under the pliers consists of 4 linoleum squares that I purchased from Menards. I’m always looking for and purchasing various backgrounds, cloth, things with texture, etc. for use in my photography,(I’m currently on the hunt for a few pieces of weathered wood if you know of any.) The lighting was from a pocket sized LED light (with color temp control) and the scene was set on my dining room table.
I feel a little guilty about the Chevy thing. If it’s any consultation, I’ve owned two Ford Mustangs at different times in my life. I will someday find another. I LOVE Mustangs.
As always, I I’m happy to answer any questions.
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Tom Archibald is a Minnesota based Photographer serving the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs since 2006.His portfolio includes Commercial, Portraiture, Food, and Lifestyle photography.
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